This seaweed broth is the base of almost every Okinawan dish; it’s used in soup, stews, steamed vegetables, and even to enrich the flavors of stir-fries. Okinawan dashi uses either bonito flakes, kelp, or both as its base. I recommend making a big batch and freezing it so you can use it for anything or everything.
For thousands of years, Okinawans have taken in their essential minerals (sodium, calcium, potassium, iodine) by using seaweed in their cooking. Kelp, one of the cornerstones of Okinawan (and Japanese) cooking, gives many dishes a rich umami flavor.
KELP (KOMBU) DASHI
1 ounce kombu (a 4-inch x 6-inch piece of kelp)
5 cups water
3⁄4 cup dried bonito flakes
4 cups water
1 ounce kombu (4-inch x 6-inch piece of kelp)
5 dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in water for 1 hour
Wipe off white layer on kelp with dry cloth.
Soak kombu overnight in water.
Drain kombu and combine with 5 fresh cups of water in a soup pot.
Heat until just before boiling. As soon as the liquid boils, strain kombu out.
Add bonito flakes and bring dashi broth to a boil, skimming top if necessary.
When dashi boils, reduce heat to simmer immediately; let simmer for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and let bonito flakes sink to the bottom, about 10 minutes.
Strain dashi into a bowl.
Use dashi immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Rinse off the kombu with water.
Boil water and reduce to simmer.
Add kombu and mushrooms to pot and let simmer on low for 15-20 minutes.
Strain and reserve broth.
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